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Seven Questions to Ask Before You Choose an Agent

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The concern today when putting your home on the market should not be whether you'll get a contract; it's whether you are going to recognize the majority your net proceeds without any unnecessary delays.What you realize from the sale of your home has to do with maximizing the sales price while minimizing the sales expenses.Interestingly, the buyers will be trying to minimize the price they have to pay for your home and possibly, have you pay some of their expenses.Taking a few pictures with a cell phone and putting a sign in the yard may be enough to get a buyer but successfully selling a home in today's market requires expert marketing and expert negotiations.Marketing begins with the preparation of the property to optimize the first impressions it makes to potential buyers.A skilled professional can make recommendations that can help the home sell for the most money and in the shortest amount of time.Cleaning, painting, depersonalizing, removing unnecessary items and poss…

Four Things Sellers Should Do Before the Sign Goes in the Yard

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Just like buyers should be pre-approved before they begin to look at houses, Sellers should have their home pre-approved.The reasons are similar: appeal to the "right" buyers, discover issues with the home early, improve marketability, increase negotiations position and close quicker.For the seller, there are few things that need to be done before the sign goes in the yard and definitely before prospective buyers see the home.The first is to understand that once you decide to sell the home that it needs to appeal to the broadest base of buyers and that means depersonalizing your home.Once the home is sold, you will need to pack your things for the new home.Think of this as starting the process early.Get moving boxes and make decisions on what you intend to give away or discard in each room and closet.Identify and pack those items before the home goes on the market. This will be the first wave of making your home more marketable.When your home hits the market, it needs to be …

Selling or Buying Smart Homes

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More and more homeowners are employing smart home technology within their homes.  It may start with a video doorbell or lights and progress to other devices.  The smart-home device market is rapidly growing and Forbes research expects it to grow from $55 billion in 2016 to $174 billion in 2025.The popularity of these high-tech features will require a few additional steps to consider when selling a home.  The seller should determine which items will and will not stay with the sale of the home and identify them in the listing agreement.Confusion can arise when a home's marketing mentions its smart-home technology and is unclear if a piece like the hub, which is easily considered personal property but is integral to the working of the system.  Some might consider it an accessory and others a component.A smart home can contain multiple technology devices connected to the Internet that allow them to be controlled or accessed from computers, tablets or most commonly, on mobile apps.  Ma…

Alternative Investments

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In a recent article, The Wall Street Journal reported that investors have rarely been this flush with cash.The economic uncertainty due to the pandemic and the volatility of the stock market has caused assets in money-market funds to increase to approximately $4.6 trillion, the highest level on record according to Refinitv Lipper.The question becomes should an investor be "out of the market" until things settle down or should they seek to find alternative investments to produce satisfactory results.Even in the middle of this uncertainty, residential rental property has been a stable performer.Rents are continuing to increase along with values.Investor mortgages are available at 80% loan-to-value at fixed interest rates for 30-year terms.Most other investments must be purchased for cash or at best, are limited to low loan-to-value loans, at floating interest rates for relatively short time frames.The use of borrowed funds, especially at today's low interest rates, contrib…

Smart Sprinkler Controller

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It seems like most homes have sprinkler systems and if they do, they have some form of controller to automatically turn the water on and off for the time and days you feel necessary.  It seems like basic functionality and if it isn't broken, you may not feel the need to replace it. Today, there are so many smart home devices that are not only convenient, but they'll end up saving you enough money to pay for the upgrade.  There are different manufacturers,but you should at least consider the Rachio if for no other reason than the easy installation procedure. The process is simple.  Unplug the old controller and disconnect the wires being sure to label which wires went to which stations.  Using the Rachio template, mark three spots on the wall, drill holes in the drywall, insert the anchors into the holes and screw the new controller to the wall. This model has convenient wire connectors that do not require crimping a wire around a screw.  It is quick and easy to put the numbered w…

How Does It Measure Up?

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People are always looking for a "down and dirty" way to determine the value of a home and square footage seems to be one of the most common things used by people whether they are buyers, sellers or real estate agents.While it seems straight forward, there are several variances that can lead to inaccurate determinations.The market data approach to value uses similar properties in size, location, condition and amenities to compare with the subject to arrive at a price.Differences in any of these things can affect the price per square foot.Appraisers are trained and licensed to make these adjustments but the differences are not necessarily objective and that is where opinions start to influence the value.Even if a person were to make accurate adjustments, they would be based on the assumption that the square footage of the comparable properties is correct.That leads to the next area of concern: how was the subject property measured.It is commonly accepted to the measure the out…

It's Worth Digging a Little Deeper

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There are hundreds of thousands of people who believe, for one reason or another, they cannot afford to buy a home currently.Some people  may not for any number of reasons but it would be very surprising to know how many who can buy but have gotten some bad information along the way.It's worth digging a little deeper to find out the facts.John and Karen have been renting a home for the last five years at $2,000 a month.During that time, the value of the home they were renting went up by $30,000 in value while the unpaid balance decreased by $18, 400.Even though they were fortunate enough the rent remained constant over the five years, they missed out on close to $50,000 of equity that the owner realized instead of them.Another thing to consider with today's low interest rates, it is quite common for a mortgage payment to be lower than a tenant is paying rent for a similar property.So, in this example, John & Karen paid more to rent than a house payment would have been and …